New Zealand has been named the second riskiest country in a major global insurance report undertaken by reinsurer Lloyds.

Titled: A World at risk: Closing the insurance gap - the report ranks 43 countries on their expected loss from disaster by looking at the probability of a natural disaster happening and multiplying that by the cost.

New Zealand has an annual expected loss of 0.66 per cent of its gross domestic product - ranking it second behind Bangladesh on 0.83 per cent.

It is the second time the report has been carried out and New Zealand has jumped up from 3rd to second since the 2012 report, over-taking Chile.


Tim Grafton, chief executive of the Insurance Council of New Zealand - the industry body for home, contents and vehicle insurers, said the report showed how risky New Zealand really is.

"Since the last report in 2012, we've seen the cost of the Canterbury earthquakes continue to rise, a second major earthquake striking Kaikōura and Wellington and a major flood in Edgecumbe."

The report also ranks countries on how well insured they are by looking at insurance penetration by comparing premiums as a percentage of GDP.

New Zealand ranks 4th out of 43 countries for insurance penetration but that is down from second place in the 2012 report.

The Netherlands has the highest level of insurance penetration followed by South Korea and the United States.

Grafton said as a risky country it was important New Zealand remained well-insured.

"That means not only ensuring we insure our assets but making sure coverage of those assets is sufficient to replace them."

A tree damaged a car in Titirangi, Auckland, after the April storm. Photo / Stuart Chapman
A tree damaged a car in Titirangi, Auckland, after the April storm. Photo / Stuart Chapman

Grafton said although Kiwis had relatively high insurance penetration rates that did not mean that all assets were adequately insured.

"It's possible that people are under-estimating the cost to replace their assets, which could leave them vulnerable should another major disaster strike."


Grafton urged people to make sure their house's sum insurance value was sufficient to cover the demolition and rebuild of their home should it be destroyed in a disaster and to check contents and motor insurance

"Talk to your insurer to make sure your contents cover is sufficient - your insurer will likely have a calculator you can use to work out how much cover you'd need if you had to replace everything you owned.

"Check your motor policy to ensure the market value of your car is listed correctly."

The report found that despite global economic growth in recent years the under-insurance gap has only shrunk 3 per cent since 2012.

It estimates the world is still under-insured by US$162.5 billion with emerging economies accounting for 96 per cent of that.

Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt and Nigeria all have less than 1 per cent insurance penetration rates.

But they are also among the most exposed countries to risks such as climate change and some of the least able to afford recovery from disasters.

It found flooding was one of the most common types of natural disasters in recent years with global economic losses higher than US$30b in 2016 from flooding and sea levels are expected to continue rising.

The report also puts a figure on the cost of cyber-crime with cyber-attacks estimated to have cost businesses US$608b in 2017 with more than four billion individual data breaches recorded.